A friend of music at First Congregational Church is someone like you!

403 South Jefferson Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48607



Monday, November 17, 2014

Advent Noonday Recitals Begin Dec. 5 at First Congregational Church

Professional organists of the Great Lakes Bay Region and a retired educator will be highlighted in thirty-minute noonday recitals at historic First Congregational Church, 403 S. Jefferson Avenue, Saginaw, MI 48607.  Three Brown Bag Lunch concerts will take place in the church’s sanctuary on the Fridays of Advent beginning at 12:15 p.m.


Dr. Steven Egler – Organ

Friday, December 5, 2014 | 12:15 p.m.


            Nicholas Schmelter – Organ | James Royle – Narrator

Friday, December 12, 2014 | 12:15 p.m.


James Gladstone – Organ

Friday, December 19, 2014 | 12:15 p.m.


Dr. Steven Egler will perform the first recital on Friday, December 5.  Instructor of organ at Central Michigan University since 1976, Egler holds Bachelor, Master, and Doctor of Music degrees in organ performance from the University of Michigan, where he studied organ with Robert Glasgow and harpsichord with Edward Parmentier. Additional study has been with Lillian McCord, Catharine Crozier, Charles W. Ore, Quentin Faulkner, and George Ritchie. He has appeared as a soloist, collaborative musician, and clinician throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Norway, and France, and he has performed as a member of the Shelly-Egler Flute and Organ Duo for over thirty-five years. His performances have been featured several times on Pipedreams, and he has performed and given workshops for eight regional and national conventions of The American Guild of Organists and the National Flute Association. He has also taught in six Pipe Organ Encounters sponsored by the AGO, and he has adjudicated various organ competitions, including the prestigious National Organ Competition in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Many of his current and former students hold major church and college teaching positions throughout the USA, and Egler has been honored by his colleagues five times with the Professor Merit Award for histeaching, creative endeavors, and scholarly work. He has been involved with the AGO in many official capacities, including the National Council on which he served as Councillor for Region V.  The Shelly-Egler Duo’s CD, The Dove Descending, is available from Summit Records, and Dr. Egler’s first solo CD, When In Our Music God is Glorified, was recorded in 1999 by Prestant Records on the 1997 Casavant organ, Opus 3756, at Central Michigan University. This CD is available from The Organ Historical Society. Dr. Egler’s collaboration with the late Dr. Paul Willwerth, professor of trumpet emeritus at Central Michigan University, resulted in two CD’s: Music for Trumpet and Organ (a remastering of an earlier LP recording) and Ecclesiastical Music for Trumpet and Organ (compositions by Dr. Willwerth). His most recent CD, The Organ Works of Gerald Near, was recorded by White Pine Music and is available from MorningStar Music. An active church musician, Egler has served several churches in Illinois and Michigan for over fifty years including his current appointment as Artist in Residence at First Congregational Church in Saginaw held since 2011.

Nicholas Schmelter will perform the second recital with narrator on Friday, December 12.  Schmelter graduated in 2006 with a Master of Music degree in organ performance from Central Michigan University, where he studied with Dr. Steven Egler. He has undertaken research in pipe organ design and installation, and has surveyed trends in Roman Catholic organ installations in the United States. In addition, he has researched and performed the music of Marcel Dupré, antiquarian organ music from Great Britain and the United States, and the accompaniments of Victorian choral works. Schmelter was awarded honors at Central Michigan University including a Graduate Fellowship, the Centralis Scholar Scholarship Award, the School of Music Performance Scholarship, and the Presser Foundation Award. He has performed recitals and other tours throughout Michigan as well as in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Milwaukee, and Toronto, Canada. Schmelter has served in many capacities in the American Guild of Organists. He presently serves the Saginaw Valley Chapter as Dean. A church musician since the age of sixteen, he is an adjunct faculty member at Saginaw Valley State University.

James Royle will narrate a composition by Alec Rowley performed on December 12. Royle is retired from Saginaw Valley State University, where he served for fifteen years as a tenured Associate Professor in the College of Education focusing primarily on Special Education Teacher Preparation.  Previously, he served for over twenty years as the Director of the Millet Learning Center and, prior to that, for twelve years as Clinical Psychologist and Administrative Director of the Westlund Child Guidance Clinic. Royle and his wife of over fifty years, Tamara, came to Saginaw in 1965 upon completion of his graduate training and internship at Ohio State University.   A graduate of Albion College, Royle began his musical career as a boy soprano at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and has performed in choral and musical theater settings including most recently “Treasure Island” (February 2012) and “Les Miserables” (March 2014) at the Midland Center for the Arts.  While on the faculty of Saginaw Valley State University, Royle sang with the university’s choirs and traveled with them for concert tours throughout the world. He has sung with Midland’s Men of Music for 10 years and the First Congregational Church’s Chancel Choir for more than forty years.

James Gladstone performs the final Brown Bag Lunch concert on Friday, December 19.  Gladstone graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Concordia College, River Forest, Illinois.  He took part in graduate study and continuing education in organ, Kodaly and Orff method, and choral direction from Washington University, Western Michigan University, Valparaiso University, and Trinity Lutheran Seminary.  Gladstone has served several Lutheran parishes throughout the country since the 1970s include the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saint Luke (Chicago, IL), Grace Lutheran Church (Winter Haven, FL), Trinity Lutheran Church (St. Joseph, MI), Carmel Lutheran Church (Carmel, IN), Redeemer Lutheran Church (Flint, MI), and Holy Cross Lutheran Church (Saginaw, MI).  A charter member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians and member of the American Guild of Organists, Gladstone has sung in several professional and community choirs and served as an adjunct instructor and accompanist at SVSU and Lake Michigan College.  He also reviews new choral and organ music for the publication Cross Accent.

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